For a year the stone in my chest stayed dormant. Always longing for a baby, stuck between acceptance and fading hope. I’ve been a sculptor for a long time. Adding lumps of clay to skeletons of wire, watching the beauty of God’s animals take shape in my own interpretation: worship with mud. I had turned the empty nursery into an art studio. It was the only way I knew to heal. Then one day, I tried a new kind of sculpting. Instead of adding clay, building up my medium until I was satisfied with the emerging creature, I aggressively carved deep into a small block of rock-hard wax. Digging deeper and deeper, gouging out the pieces that were hiding the beauty that lay beneath. It was purifying. In those moments, I had a deep understanding of how the Master Artist had been sculpting my life. He was carving away the ugliness that was concealing the beauty he wanted to reveal. It is finished. Wax shavings scattered, littering the table like a battlefield. Two sparrows. Two humble sparrows to represent my fallen babies. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.” Matthew 10:29. My two sparrows seemed so insignificant to so many people. God loved them… deeply. I cast them in silver and hung them around my neck. I vowed I would tell the story of the sparrows to whomever asked.
God directed our path to a new church. I drug my feet. Hurt deeply by the people in the church who should’ve been surrounding us in love. Instead we felt shoved aside, no one wanting to wade through the pain with us. I was scared to try a new church, afraid my story would be taboo here too. I was afraid of only being loved for the fake smile I learned to wear. Christians don’t like to talk about miscarriage, it doesn’t fit in a pretty God-package. The first day we went we made friends. They invited us to lunch with them. They wanted us in their ragamuffin group of misfits. I have never known such friends. All with messy, hard lives. All trying hard to trust God, to bask in his love. These friends listened to our story, they prayed for us. Genuine prayers not just for a baby, but that God would work in our hearts no matter what his will turned out to be. The stone was growing softer… it was starting to beat again. Miraculous.
Our ragamuffin friends rejoiced with us when, after three years of waiting and trying to conceive a third child, we learned I was pregnant. They prayed over us and our child. They asked God to be glorified through this pregnancy no matter how it ended. On October 20, 2011, I called my dearest friend. Pray with me? The next day, I was going to the doctor for my 12 week appointment. I was scared, fearful, knowing that I had a choice to make. I had to choose to trust God’s plan. I needed to choose to trust in his goodness no matter what. So, on a park bench on a perfect autumn day, we talked and prayed while sharing a box of Fruit Loops. The sun rays shone through the amber leaves, warming me like the peace that was thawing the fear.
October 21, 2011. 5 years to the day that Daniel knelt in the dirt, us embraced in the boughs of the massive magnolia tree where he carved his love for me into its branches. I lay bravely on the table listening to the sadness in my precious doctor’s voice as she confirmed what a small part of me already knew. It was over. Daniel and I were kneeling in the dirt together now, embraced in God’s peace. I remember only two things from that day. The doctor’s office and crying quietly on the couch longing to be with my babies. I cried, talking wordlessly with God and choosing to not let my beating heart turn back into stone. I remembered Ann Voskamp’s mission to give thanks, even when it was hard. So, I said thank you, not because I was happy, but because I felt his carving knife on my heart, and I knew that he was sculpting.